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See also: prévention


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From Middle English prevencion, from Medieval Latin prēventiō.


  • IPA(key): /pɹɪˈvɛnʃən/
  • (file)


prevention (countable and uncountable, plural preventions)

  1. The act of preventing or hindering; obstruction of action, access, or approach; thwarting.
    a fire prevention campaign
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Iulius Cæsar”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene i]:
      Casca, be sudden, for we fear prevention.
    • 1698, Robert South, “Sermon Preached at Christ-Church, Oxon. before the University”, in Twelve Sermons upon Several Subjects and Occasions, volume III, London: [] Tho[mas] Warren for Thomas Bennet [], OCLC 1227592170, page 222:
      But no Man Pities another for any Evil lying upon Him, which he would not help, but which he could not. One is his Burden, the other his Choice; Vertually at least, since he might have Chosen its Prevention.
    • 1920, Francis Sales Betten, The Roman Index of Forbidden Books:
      It performed this task in the beginning and has always exercised the power of passing on books. By this transfer, the Pope points out, every danger of a collision, which might become very embarrassing, is evaded. The prevention of such collisions has indeed been one of the chief reasons for Pius X to undertake the complete reorganization of the Roman Curia.
    • 1982, Ronald Reagan, Presidential Radio Address - 2 October 1982
      In the next few days we'll announce the administration's new strategy for the prevention of drug abuse and drug trafficking.
  2. (medicine) Any measure intended to limit health-related risks (such as information campaigns, vaccination, early diagnosis etc.).
    • 1933, David Marshall Brooks, The Necessity of Atheism
      Whatever cures are known, and preventions that are practiced now, could have been common knowledge centuries ago.
  3. (obsolete) The act of going, or state of being, before.
    • 1631, Francis [Bacon], “III. Century.”, in Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie. In Ten Centuries. [], 3rd edition, London: [] VVilliam Rawley; [p]rinted by J[ohn] H[aviland] for William Lee [], page 59, OCLC 1044372886:
      It is generally knowne and obserued, that Light, and the Obiect of Sight, moue swifter than Sound; For we see the Flash of a Peece [i.e. firearm] is seene sooner, than the Noise is heard. [] And the greater the Distance, the greater is the Preuention: As we see in Thunder, which is farre off; where the Lightning Precedeth the Cracke a good space.
  4. (obsolete) Anticipation; especially, anticipation of needs, wishes, hazards and risks
  5. precaution; forethought.
    • 1659, Henry Hammond, A Paraphrase and Annotations upon All the Books of the New Testament, London: Richard Davis, The Gospel according to S. LUKE, Chapter 14, verse 3, p. 238,[1]
      And Jesus [] by way of prevention asked a question of the Doctors of the law and Pharisees that were present, saying, Is the working of a cure on a sick man a thing forbidden, and so unlawfull to be done upon a sabbath day?

Derived terms[edit]


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  1. Genitive singular form of preventio.